The Icarus Line
Last Rock n Roll Gang

Interviews and Articles

March 4, 2013


Apologies for any delays to the site, and apologies again for publishing the following interview – which was originally conducted in 2008 with ex-members Jason DeCorse and James Striff, alongside present member Alvin DeGuzman, on the morning after The Icarus Line played at The Old Blue Last (London).

Due to the length of the interview, I’ve decided to split the interview into 2 parts, with the first part located here.

Is it true how rumours suggest that Joe’s always cooking up songs, like how one cooks up recipes?
James: Oh yeah. He’s always throwing songs…

Jason: It’s like a faucet – you either fight it, or you embrace it. Joe’s like, “I’ve got this new idea. Has no-one else got any new ideas? OK cool… Let’s work on this one”. He seems to be the strongest, and a good focal point. There’s a formula to how this band works, and we all embrace the formula, and then we all work on it to the best potential that it can be. And that’s what happens, and that’s what a good leader is, and that’s what having good team-members is about. You have a good team where everyone knows their place. That’s what makes it work. If there’s always fighting, it might be good for the fans or the media.

It’s a destructive energy, and that makes it a spectator sport. Nobody gets hurt, apart from the people who are actually engaged in that type of conflict. And then people read about it in ‘The Dirt’…
Jason: ‘The Dirt’ is a great book.

Yeah, I think I bought it one Saturday afternoon, and I finished it by Sunday night.
Jason: Wow. That took me like a month to read through…

Yeah, I bought it on Saturday, and I had to start work on the following Monday at 9am – which means that I would have had to get up around 7am. I finished it at 4am on that same Monday morning before getting up for work.
Jason: Wow… it’s a good book.

I wouldn’t mind it being translated to film, but the problem will be that it’s won’t be anywhere as good on the big screen. For starters, it’ll have to be an 18-rated movie.
Jason: I’m kind of excited to see how people interpret the book. Motley Crue really were out of their minds. For an LA band, they really were crazy. Even though now they’re like… (makes impression of a brain-dead zombie).

James: I haven’t been listening to any other records, that’s for sure.

Jason: The first two (records)… that’s when they were going crazy. That’s when they were touring with Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne. Because that’s when they had something going on – that spark. And then it just fizzles into something else. Obviously as you get older, some things become more important. But that angst youth “thing”… That’s what they had, and that’s what was really good about them.

I guess that’s the same with any rock band who are worth their salt. From a marketing standpoint, you have that teenage angst – and it’s what is sold to the masses. Your wild years…
Jason: And it doesn’t get any easier as you continue to make records. It never gets easier. You just have to find it in your inside, take a chance, and move forward. Say “this is what we’re doing now”, and hopefully… (people will still be around).

When are you guys going back to LA?
Jason: Tomorrow.

When are you coming back to the UK again?
Alvin: We don’t know. We’ve got work permits which no-one even looked at when we got in (the UK).

Jason: We’ve got 6 months validation.

Alvin: That’s motivation to come back really soon. Hopefully they’ll ask to see them (the work permits) next time, so it won’t feel like it’s £1000 down the drain.

James: We’ve got to better sell records.

Alvin: You never know who we’ll be supporting…

I know that you guys have supported bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan in the past. Have you thought about supporting any other up-and-coming bands or bands that are more established than you guys are?
Jason: Yeah. I think it helps.

Because you guys also supported The Distillers a few years ago…
Alvin: Oh… yeah.

Maybe you guys could do Avenged Sevenfold next time round…
Jason: Yeah, I bet that’ll last long (laughs).

Alvin: They might have some beef with Jeff…

Jason: The Captain.

Is that stuff still kicking around?
Jason: Yeah I think he’s in their Top 10…

Alvin: Top 20… Yeah, they might remember him. Probably not though…

Jason (laughs): You remember The Captain, right? He didn’t do nothing to you right? Everybody remembers The Captain.

What music are you listening to at the moment?
Jason: Angels of Light. Whatever we listen to together… Roxy music, The Stones, funk compilations, early Aerosmith. I listen to old-school funk music all the time. It sounds like it’s from some garage brothers who you’d never hear from again. I like that stuff – the little one-offs. Minimum guitar. It allows me to focus on one thing, such as the riffs. I’ve got plenty of time for that. I think it was when I was younger that I listened to plenty of guitar stuff.

What got you into music and alternative music in general? What were your favourite albums when you were younger, and what were the albums that you are ashamed of liking now?
Jason: When I was younger, I really wasn’t exposed… I come from a small town, and all I had was MTV and my dad’s records. And whatever was on the radio. So all I really listened to was the “Top 40”, apart from whatever my mum and dad would put on. My dad would only go so far, but my mum was buying stuff like Van Halen, Judas Priest…

Cool. So you almost had a “classical” upbringing…
Jason: My parents took me to see Kiss when I was 6, but I got so scared that I started crying – because it was so loud, and because I didn’t really expect it. And then I went back again when I was 8, and that was cool. I got over that. And then I started break-dancing for a little while. So anyway… I didn’t get exposed to punk rock music or have access to it until I moved to another town (Tucson, Arizona). It was a bigger town, and they had places where kids could actually go and play music. Where I was from, all they had were bars full of cowboys and indians. So here (in Tucson) there were a lot of white kids, and it was a suburban neighbourhood where I could see people play original music. I got to finally see it when I was 18, and I was going to places, and then I started playing with bands, and then I started discovering music that way. Whereas with Alvin and James have had more access…

I know that with Alvin it was about discovering Guns N Roses…
Alvin: Yeah, my older cousin was really into ‘Appetite For Destruction’ and I was really into “copying”… That’s what you do when you’re younger.

James: For me and my generation, it was definitely Nirvana that got me and the kids really into… That was my first exposure to punk. I remember listening to the first record (‘Bleach’) and going “what is this shit”? Because before then, I grew up on classic rock. I grew up on The Stones and The Beatles, and I still listen to them now. But I think Nirvana is what got me into the more alternative side and even the punk side. But I was always into the pre-punk bands which I consider to be more rock n roll anyway (like Velvet Underground, The New York Dolls and The Stooges).

Have you ever met anyone from Nirvana – even Chad Channing?
James: No… (motions towards a crew member who has just walked in) Did you have a rough night?

Crew Member: A little bit.

James: We had to celebrate after getting away from the cops…

Jason: Oh yeah, we got pulled over last night. We basically got stoned.

James: Every direction, they stopped us. Every direction…

Jason: Because we heard sirens all night, and all of a sudden there’s a siren right behind us.

James: We were being followed…

Jason: All of a sudden a van pulls up, and another cop pulls up, and they’re all on us.

What time was this?
Jason: Right after the gig, and on the way home. But I guess they have a system out here where they run your license plate. They’ll find you in 5 minutes.

Is that the worst experience the band has ever had with cops?
Jason: In London? So far, yeah…

What about your entire existence within the band?
James: In Spain…

Crew Member: In Spain, we got pulled over…

James: For nothing. They were just fucking with us.

Jason: Yeah, we were just driving. We got to this exit. This thing. And they had cops, like at a check-point. They said “pull over. Ticket. Ticket. Ticket”. What did we do? Nothing, right?

James: Nothing.

Jason: The Spanish like to think that they’re not like Mexico. But I’ve been to Mexico, and they do the same shit. I can say that because I’m Mexican.

There have been so many times when you’re just driving, and a cop’s right there. And he sees you, and he sees that you’re American and you have a trailer full of beer. You’re ready to have some fun…

James: Oh yeah, and you have a white girl in the passenger seat…

Jason: Yeah… you have a white girl. Ticket. Pay me cash now or we’ll have to go down to the station. Where they can see all your shit.

James: As a teenager, I went to Cancun with a couple of my friends and they straight up jacked… The cops stopped us. We were drunk. I had a gold chain, and they just took it right off my neck. They took my friends brand new Air Jordans (Nike Trainers). They just took what they wanted, and had their way with us. It’s fucked up… You ever been to Mexico?

No, I’ve never been to Mexico. I’ve never been to America. As a kid, I wanted to go to New York. But now I want to go LA, only because it’s hot and sunny every day.
James: In New York, the weather sucks.

Jason: It’s like vacation every day in LA. Every day you wake up, you go “ah, smells like vacation”.

What’s the employment and job situation like in LA?
Jason: There are a lot of “create your own” jobs down there. There’s a lot of money there… It’s kind of strange. There’s a lot of independent entrepreneurship going on. You can either work for somebody, or you can create a job…

If you go to the base of Los Angeles, you can go the base of San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas… That’s what most people do when they come from Europe.

Have you seen ‘Apocalypto’?

Yes, I’ve seen it. My friend loves that film.
Jason: I love that movie. It’s got some stuff in there that most movies don’t have. There’s a lot of… You feel for the villain after a while, and you end up liking him. There’s this part where his son dies, and they end up chasing the hero, and they have to jump over a waterfall. And they’re like “we can go round”, but the main villain turns around and says “no, he jumped, so we all jump”. That’s more primal, where you have integrity and heart… Instead of finding the easy way, they have to do what the hero did, only because they have to go through the same motions so as to be able to catch him. I think there was a lot of heart in that…

I think ‘300’ had more heart in it…
Jason: Yes, that’s another film I was going to talk about too. That’s a direct interpretation of the music business. The Persian army is like the followers of America, where they are trying to take over. But there’s just this little space left, where these guys are trying to hold the fort.

I know that The Icarus Line is regarded as being the last rock and roll band…
Jason: Everyone always tells me that we’re the most dangerous band in the world.

That’s the tag-line that you guys are supposed to have, even though Kerrang have officially designated Avenged Sevenfold as being the “most dangerous band in the world”. But alas, and despite Jeff “The Captain” Watson proving otherwise, sometimes popularity contests are often enough to blind people from the truth. But honestly, how does it feel when you guys often do have your backs against the wall, and feel as if (circumstances and) the whole world is ganging up on you?
Jason: If things are against you, we usually change something here, or tighten something there… It all comes back again to the leadership quality. It always goes back to the leadership quality. I’d say all the other bands I’ve been in have been lacking that. It shows exactly what we do because of decisions that Joe makes that we follow. “I say we should do this”, and he starts it, and we’re like “yeah”. It’s got to come from somewhere, in order to make that kind of decision. And when those things happen, Joe’s usually the most defiant at all times. Everybody feels that way anyway, but in order for us to advance, it has to happen first.


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  1. […] Due to the length of the interview, I’ve decided to split the interview into 2 parts, with the second part located here. […]

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